House C’ttee: N3tn lost annually in maritime domain
Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The Nigerian Navy has disclosed that it confiscated 810,725 metric tonnes of crude oil and 1.1 million metric tonnes of illegally refined diesel, with a total value put at N420.1 billion in 2016.
The development, the navy noted, was despite a meagre overhead budget release of N2.5 billion in the outgone year.
This is as the House of Representatives Committee on Navy stated that the country loses an estimated N3 trillion annually to the activities of economic saboteurs in the maritime domain.
The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, in his presentation at the 2017 budget defence session before the committee yesterday, said the navy in the same year, also arrested 22 vessels, destroyed 181 illegal refineries and 38 barges, and arrested 784 suspected oil vandals.
He further disclosed that N207 million was generated by the navy through various taxes, and contractors’ registration fees: the monies have since been remitted into the Federal Inland Revenue accounts and the Treasury Single Accounts (TSA).
The sum of N26 billion is being proposed for the navy’s 2017 capital expenditure with N32 billion as overhead budget proposal, and personnel cost proposal of N60.3 billion.
The CNS however, noted that only N4.7 billion was eventually recommended by the Budget Office of the Federation, for consideration as overhead budget proposal.
Details gleamed from the CNS presentation indicate that only 39 percent amounting to N10.1 billion has been released from the 2016 capital appropriation of N25.6 billion
The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Abdussamad Dasuki (Sokoto APC), noted that there was an urgent need to ensure that budgetary allocations to the navy is realistic and allow it function properly.
He highlighted the urgent needs of the navy to include adequate maintenance and fuelling of the navy platforms, procurement of additional boats and other equipment, training and enhanced welfare of personnel.
“It is largely upon the navy that the wealth, peace and prosperity of our nation depend. Securing our vast exclusive economic zone and territorial waters which is almost equal in size to the West African region, requires platforms in sufficient numbers to execute security patrols to guard and secure the nation’s multibillion dollar oil and gas infrastructure, “ he noted.
The patrols, Dasuki said, prevented economic saboteurs from illegal fishery and smuggling, both of which have negative effects on national economy.